LHA information for private tenants
How the allowance is worked out
The amount of LHA money you'll receive is based on your income, the area you live in and who lives with you. Payment is made to the tenant, who then pays the landlord. The LHA rates vary depending on the size of the property you need. You can check how many rooms you are entitled to on the Rent Service (external link) website. The LHA rates are set by an independent rent officer and are based on local rents, so are set specifically for the local area.
How much you will receive
Once the rate you are entitled to is worked out, we then look at:
- the money you have coming in, including earnings, some benefits and tax credits and things like occupational pensions
- your savings
You won't usually get Local Housing Allowance if:
- you have savings of over £16,000 (unless you're aged 60 or over and getting the 'guarantee credit' of Pension Credit)
- you live in the home of a close relative
- you're a full-time student (unless you're disabled or have children)
- you're an asylum seeker or sponsored to be in the UK
Your LHA may not match your rent
LHA doesn't depend on how much rent you pay. One of the objectives of the scheme is to give you more choice and responsibility for your money. If your rent is higher than your LHA, you'll need to make up the difference. In exceptional circumstances you may be able to get a discretionary housing payment to help pay the difference. Contact us for more information about this. Our contact details are in the contact panel on the right of this page.
How LHA payments are made
Payment is made to you as the tenant; then you must pay your landlord yourself. You'll need a bank account to receive payments (we can't pay LHA into a post office card account). If you don't have a bank account, you'll need to set one up. Most banks have basic bank accounts which are available to people who have had previous credit problems.
For more information on opening a bank account please see the Financial Services Authority booklet Money Made Clear (external link)
Paying your landlord
If you can't take responsibility for the payment of rent, then the council can make payments direct to your landlord if there is a good reason to do so. If you're worried about taking this responsibility then you should talk to us about your concerns. Your benefit is for you to pay your rent with. If you don't use your benefit to pay your rent, your landlord may take you to court, or try to evict you and you may lose your home. We won't talk to your landlord about your claim unless you've given written permission. However, if you're more than eight weeks in arrears your landlord has the right to ask for direct payments, and in those circumstances we'll confirm the amount of benefit to which you are entitled to your landlord.
Tell us about a change of circumstance
If you have a change in your circumstances, you must inform the benefits team in writing immediately. If you have a change in your circumstances that affects the number of rooms you are entitled to, then the LHA figure can be changed.
Appealing against your LHA rate
You can't appeal against the level of the LHA you've been granted in relation to your room requirements.
You do have the right to dispute any decision made when calculating your claim. You can ask for an explanation of the calculation or you can make a written request for a review of the calculation or request an appeal hearing.